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The exact time when gonorrhea started cannot be ascertained. However, history of gonorrhea reveals that the first note of the infection causing a serious problem was in the year 1611 when the English parliament enacted a law to ensure that the spread of the infection is decreased and curbed. (See Reference 1) The diagnosis of the infection was not made during that period and just the symptoms have given historians an indication that the members of the English parliament were talking about gonorrhea. (See Reference 1)
A similar law was also passed in the year 1256 in France during the reign of Louis IX. Also, the symptoms of the infection were observed when the crusaders lay siege of Acre. (See Reference 1)
The spread of gonorrhea during the medieval period brought about many changes. Cities were forced to hire doctors to ensure that people who had severe infection were treated and not refused any treatment. Even the pope at that time, Pope Boniface, reversed a rule that required doctors to first complete their education related to the lower orders of Catholic priesthood. (See Reference 1)
The doctors in the medieval period has to treat not just the common man with gonorrhea, but also prostitutes. And, after Pope Boniface allowed medical practitioners to receive compensation for treating patients, doctors were more conducive to treating people with STDs. The various municipalities used to hire representatives to ensure that standard examination of patients were conducted to prevent the spread of gonorrhea. These representatives were called King of Whores in Paris. (See Reference 1)
In the medieval period, gonorrhea was often referred to as 'clap'. According to some historians the name came about because the infected person would experience a clapping sensation that appeared suddenly when urinating. (See Reference 2) Another theory claims that in order to remove the pus-like discharge from the penis, the penis had to be clapped on both sides. And, a third theory claims that the name for the infection comes from French brothels, which were known as les clapiers, and men who visited these brothels invariably ended up with the infection. (See Reference 2)
The infection was treated with the help of mercury. Some tools belonging to surgeons were discovered aboard Mary Rose, which was an English warship, and it was believed that some of the tools were used to inject mercury in the ship crew via the urinary meatus. Later, in the 19th century, gonorrhea was treated with the help of silver nitrate. However, this compound was discontinued and protargol was used which was a type of colloidal silver sold by Bayer from the year 1987. Thereafter, colloidal silver was used to treat gonorrhea right until the 1940s till antibiotics came into the scene. (See Reference 1)
Gonorrhea was first treated effectively when penicillin was discovered. Thereafter, it was used right until the 1970s till the bacterium causing the infection started showing signs of resistance. From the decade of the 1970s, other kinds of antibiotics were used to cure the infection, and it was seen that when the blend of antibiotics was correct and the symptoms were found in the initial stages, it was highly effectively. (See Reference 2)
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2. HelpingGonorrhea.com: History of Gonorrhea